The UCI announced today the first batch of teams to be awarded licenses at the top tier of the sport, now called ProTeams (previously ProTour).
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Omega Pharma-Lotto, Garmin-Cervélo, Rabobank and Sky ProCycling are the first teams to be given the green light, with the remaining top-ranked teams to be decided on November 20.
The UCI also revealed the criteria for deciding which teams will be allowed into top tier, stating that for 2011 licenses, "the evaluation of teams has placed particular emphasis on the sporting criterion".
Teams have been ranked based on the results of the squad's top 15 riders "using results obtained in 2009 and 2010" in all races on the UCI calendar as well as the team classification of stage races on the UCI World Calendar and hors categorie events on the UCI continental circuits in 2010.
The new Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project leads the rankings over Rabobank, Garmin-Cervélo, HTC-Highroad, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Lampre. Other teams in the top 15 are Katusha, Sky, Liquigas-Cannondale, Saxo Bank SunGard, RadioShack, Vacansoleil, Astana, Movistar and BMC.
It was decided that only the top 15 teams in this ranking would receive or keep their existing first tier status as long as they also meet the financial, ethical and administrative criteria.
Teams ranked 16th-20th will fight for the remaining three spots, while any team ranked lower than 20th is not eligible for the ProTeams designation.
That puts Eustaltel-Euskadi, Geox-TMC, Quick Step, Cofidis and AG2R in, but FDJ and Pegasus Sports out of the running for the ProTeams license.
The UCI also announced the awarding of 13 Professional Continental licenses. Entering for the first time are two US-registered squads, Team Type 1 and Unitedhealthcare ProCycling.
Other teams named are Androni Giocattoli, Bretagne - Schuller, Caja Rural, Colnago - CSF Inox, Europcar (formerly Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli (formerly ISD-Neri), FDJ, Landbouwkrediet, Saur - Sojasun, Skil - Shimano, Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator..
The UCI's 2010 Teams Rankings
1 Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project
2 Rabobank Cycling Team
5 Omega Pharma-Lotto
8 Sky ProCycling
10 Saxo Bank SunGard
11 Team RadioShack
12 Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
13 Pro Team Astana
14 Movistar Team
15 BMC Racing Team
18 Quick Step Cycling Team
19 Cofidis Le Crédit en ligne
23 Pegasus Sports
25 Acqua e Sapone
26 Colnago-CSF Inox
28 Androni Giocattoli
29 Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
30 Veranda's Willems-Accent
31 Team Type 1
32 CCC Polsat Polkowice
34 Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli
36 UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
37 Team Netapp
38 Team SpiderTech powered by C10
39 Caja Rural
40 Colombia Es Pasion-Café de Colombia
41 De Rosa-Ceramica Flamina
42 Andalucia Caja Granada